Relationship between Medical Problems and Fats Foods
It is an established fact that consumption of fast food in the recent past has increased. In America for instance, the populace consume an average of 25% of junk food in a day, (Butt et al., 2007). The rise in consumption of fast food in the main contributor to the rising cases of obesity and according to Pereira et al., (2005), 30% of American citizens have a body mass index, (BMI) of 30kg/m2 and above. Over consumption of junk food is gets more sugar, fats, and sodium into the body at the expense of desirable nutrients like vitamins. This makes the body susceptible to attack by lifestyle diseases like obesity and other associated medical complications like cardiovascular diseases and malnutrition. Among the groups that fast food consumption may affect are those receiving hemodialysis. Obesity, which is mainly caused by consumption of fast food, is linked with other diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and breast cancer. This paper finds to existing relationship between medical conditions brought about by consumption of fast foods.
Fast food consumption is addictive because once a person begins consuming them; they will crave for it because of the good taste. Taking chunks of fast food for like once in a month is healthy for a physically fit person. However, the problem sets in when people get older and consistently take large volumes of junk foods. Just to recap the fast food cases in the global community, the study on the relationship between obesity and fast food has mainly been on correlation basis and the focus has been on pregnant women and school going children aged between 6-19 years. Hedley et al., (2004) observe that the number of overweight children has increased to 16% in 2002 down from 5% in the early 1970s. This statistic is of concern given that this group will translate to overweight adults in few years. In addition, there are other diseases related to obesity that are likely to attack children within this age bracket. Increasing cases of overweight among pregnant women has also been on the rise and excess weight during pregnancy increases chances of hypertension, the need for C-section, high chances that children will get maternal obesity in the future.
Fast foods are less healthy if compared to other restaurant meals according to Schlosser, (2002a) due to high calorie density. Ebbeling et al., (2004) established the relationship between high calorie intake and fast food. They found out that, adolescents with obesity had high calories on their junk food days than on days they did not consume fast food. The number of children consuming fast food in the modern society is also due to aggressive marketing that the fast food industry adopts; for instance, MacDonald’s. The aggressive advertisement is also a reason for the increasing number of children with obesity. In sum, according to Currie et al., (2009), “Most epidemiological studies have longitudinal designs in which large groups of participants are tracked over a period of time and changes in their body mass index (BMI) are correlated with baseline measures of fast food consumption,” (p. 6).
Obesity is a medical condition that makes the body susceptible to opportunistic diseases like cardiovascular and heart diseases. It also contributes to high morbidity and mortality rates. According to Selvan et al., (2004), “Another consequence of obesity is an increased cancer risk, as evidenced by the suspected direct association between MBI and cancer risk,” (Selvan et al., 2004, p. 105). Endometrium, prostrate, and breast cancers are closely linked with obesity. Poor diet and lack of adequate exercise are the main causes of obesity. Obesity in essence refers to body condition that occurs when excess body fats accumulate at the adipose tissue. Excess fat accumulation causes health impairment. According to report by the World Health Organization, (WHO), approximately 315 million persons are victims of WHO-defined category of obese, in essence, those with 30 or higher BMI numbers, (Selvan et al., 2004).
The main contributor of poor diets in modern society is the fast food industry. The fight against obesity in the global context must therefore begin by addressing fast food consumption. Most researchers have shown that media, the film industry, and government policies have altered the perception of people with regard to issues of obesity. According to Brindal et al., (2008) educative film, The Supersize Me had significant impact on the public concerning consumption of fast food. There is change in the eating pattern as most people continue to favor junk food instead of homemade meals due to convenience. The surging number of fast food outlets can attest to this fact.
Discouraging poor diet habits is a matter that needs proper approach. Psychological researchers have established that the act of banning items, in this case junk food, seem to encourage consumption due to increased desires. Theory of reactance suggests that policies touching on food banning may seem to take away freedom from the people. On the other hand, forbidden fruit theory holds that when something is prohibited, thoughts may be drawn to that particular item and this may increase appeal, hence, consumption, (Brindal et al., 2008). In the aforementioned statement, fast food is gaining popularity by day and it would be significant to change the way people conceptualize the matter. There should be dynamism with the number of choices emanating from its consumption. The government needs to be keen when approaching issues of fast food consumption asserting that something is bad is too narrow the convince the populace.
There are traditional meals that have high fat content, but they are not linked to obesity. On the other hand, some fast foods are healthier than they are perceived to be. Campaign for reducing cases of obesity, therefore need to begin by enlightening the population about choice of food and constituents of a good meal. There should be change in the way traditional meals are prepared in order to reduce fat saturation. Brindal et al., (2008) note that there are a number of firms that have implemented the changes whereas others are still reluctant.
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Fast food consumption according to the findings of the studies above has negative consequences to the health is a consumer as it cases obesity. Further to this predicament, obesity is a rising public health concern because it is a predisposing factor to other medical conditions. In the aforementioned discussion, obesity is related to hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, breast cancer, and type II diabetes among other medical conditions. In addition, according to Shore and Johnston, (2006) “An ever-increasing body of epidemiological data supports the hypothesis that obesity is also a risk factor for asthma,” (p. 84). The relationship between obesity and asthma may result from the fact that the medical conditions have common etiology; however according to studies on this relationship, there is no hypothesis to support that asthma cause obesity.
Type II diabetes is brought about by an individual’s resistance to insulin. This resistance makes the body to fail in utilizing insulin and as such, results to insulin deficiency. In America, Burgess, (2011) notes that, “Approximately 90 to 95 percent of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have Type II diabetes.” Before developing Type II diabetes, a person will first have pre-diabetes condition, which in essence refers to higher blood glucose in the body than the normal requirement. There is a correlation of how fast food consumption contributes to high blood glucose in the body. Fast foods are high in carbohydrates. A person consuming fast food will therefore take high carbohydrates that the body does not require. In addition, since fast foods lack adequate roughages to slow down digestion, food is digested faster and nutrients (glucose) are released into the body. This results to higher glucose levels in the blood, which is a pre-condition to development of Type II diabetes. In the United States, pre-diabetes cases stand 41 million for people aged 40-74 years.
Recently, pre-diabetes studies reveal that the condition has long-term body damages, more so in the blood circulation system and heart disease, which occur during pre-diabetes. In addition, studies show that if pre-diagnosis of pre-diabetes is done early and management of blood glucose begins, it would be easy to either prevent or delay development of Type II diabetes. The management of pre-diabetes was proposed by the Diabetes Prevention Program, which under the banner of American Diabetes Association established that it is possible to prevent the condition by changing dietary behaviors. This is in affirmation with previous discussion that exercise and proper dieting reduce chances of becoming obese; hence, reduce chances of getting Type II diabetes. The logic of these prevention initiatives is to reduce blood glucose levels and return the level to normal (Burgess, 2011).
Fast food consumption as mentioned earlier, results to changes in weight of an average person. In fact, consumption of fast food leads to overweight cases. On the other hand, “Studies showing that weight change alters disease status in asthma provide additional critical evidence of a causal relationship between obesity and asthma,” (Shore and Johnston, 2006, p. 86). Gain or loss of body weight has impacts on asthma and the interpretation of these results raises concern that there may have been changes in dietary composition. The type of food an individual consumes determines dietary composition; hence, the more fast food a person consumes the higher the chances of gaining weight. On the other hand, induced weight loss would be beneficial to an asthmatic as it shows positive asthma outcomes.
Other than the risk factor role that obesity has on asthmatics, obesity increases severity of asthma if an asthmatic increases fast food consumption. Luder et al., as quoted by Shore and Johnston (2006), note that, “overweight was significantly associated with more severe asthma symptoms in children, including more missed school days per year, a lower PEF, and more prescribed asthma medications,” (p. 88). There is a linear relationship between severity of asthma and the BMI as most obese patients seem to be on oral corticosteroids in the long-term. Obesity in the commonest medical condition in patients with severe asthma attacks.
These relationships support the existence of a relationship between asthma and obesity and it is vital to denote that obesity antedates asthma. This is based on a number of plausible biological facts that postulate the relationship whereas those that do not support are scanty. It is however critical to point out that obesity could also result in lack of adequate physical activities. The importance of studying the relationship between asthma and obesity is because it would be helpful addressing the rising cases of obesity in the global context. The treatment of obese asthmatics is realistic given that weight loss is a standard method of containing the medical condition. It should however be distinguished that weight loss does not extend to reducing asthma for a person with an accepted BMI.
Fast consumption leads to excess intake of undesired nutrients like sugar and trans fats at the expense of crucial nutrients like vitamins or fibers. These changes in diet requirements have negative effects for patient receiving hemodialysis. According to Butt et al., (2007), “Approximately one-third of patients on hemodialysis are obese, and more than one-half have cardiovascular diseases,” (p. 264). Even though malnutrition is a major predisposing factor to hemodialysis, nutritional intake also seems to play a vital role. Fast food consumption is associated with high intake of calories, which affects hemodialysis patients. Butt et al., (2007) found that patients with hemodialysis consume fast food and the act was common with among younger and white people. The study found a relationship between high calorie intake and fast food, mainly fats and carbohydrates, (Butt et al., 2007).
Another vital observation is the beneficial relationship between fast food consumption on dialysis patients. For a malnourished person, fast food consumption may raise nutrient intake due to high calorific content and the fact that fast foods are palatable, convenient, and cheap. Nonetheless, nutrients requirements may be suboptimal due to the fast that most fats foods lack adequate proteins. Thus, more carbohydrates may lead to obesity for dialysis patients whereass more sodium intake may lead to interdialytic gain of weight. “Both of these, along with the hyperphosphatemia and higher saturated fat intake that we observed, may in turn increase the risk of cardiovascular disease,” (Butt et al., 2007, p.269).
Cardiovascular system is affected by obesity prevalence, which in turn leads to hypertension, Coronary Heart Disease, (CHD), heart failure and some form of stroke. The BMI ahs s linear relationship with left ventricular mass, LV mass due to more cardiac output required during high metabolism rate. More cardiac output may result to cardiac arrest. The relationship between cardiovascular diseases and consumption of fast food is that the latter increases nutrient intake into the body. Constant increase of high calories exhausts the functioning of LV mass and, which in turn leads to heart diseases.
On the positive sides of fast food consumption, like already mentioned, fast foods are helpful in health restoration for a malnourished person according to the study by (Butt et al., 2007). This is because of their high calorific values and given that, they are accessible, palatable to a malnourished person, and fact that they are cheap. In American for instance, there have been many debates on the pros and cons of fast food given the booming business by fast food stores like MacDonald. In fact, even at the times of economic recession, the fast food industry is still growing and as such, it has become the main source of employment for the American population. In Schlosser’s remarks, the population is becoming a fast food nation. “In the year 2011, Americans will spend over $110 billion on fast food more than they'll spend on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music combined and every day about one quarter of the U.S. population eats fast food,” (Schlosser, 2009b). This statistics show the economic superiority of the fast food industry and a source of fund for the federal and state governments through taxation.
Another reason to support the fast food awareness is the fact that the campaigns stress on need to exercise and cut down on excessive nutrients in the body. There perception that traditional foods are healthy is justified but this notion has led to complacency on the need to exercise. There are traditional meals that have high fat content, but they are not linked to obesity. On the other hand, some fast foods are healthier than they are perceived to be. Campaign for reducing cases of obesity, therefore need to begin by enlightening the population about choice of food and constituents of a good meal. There should be change in the way traditional meals are prepared in order to reduce fat saturation. Brindal et al., (2008) note that there are a number of firms that have implemented the changes whereas others are still reluctant.
Thirdly, the growth of awareness of the fast food consumption has enhanced the focus on proper dieting. Balanced diet aids in the fight against opportunistic diseases like diabetes and cancer. The increasing level of obesity cases has seen surge in the fitness programs that create specific products and services to the populace. Fitness and exercise programs remain vital part of proper dieting and in the food pyramid; exercise is the most important in the life of human beings. Awareness in urban areas bear positive results and recent studies indicate fall in cases of obesity whereas people in rural settlements, due to lack of information, fall victims of irresponsible consumption of fast food.
Prevention of medical conditions brought about by fast food consumption would be beneficial to the economy as it reduces amount of money spent on lifestyle diseases. The burden of fighting fast food menace is rested on the taxpayers whose money can be redirected to other development projects to uplift their livelihood. In addition, a healthy nation is more productive in all sectors of the economy. According to Burgess, (2011), “Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan recognizes the serious threat to your employees’ health posed by undiagnosed and untreated pre-diabetes or diabetes.” It is for this reason that the United States House of Representatives legitimized a bill that would allow lot lawsuits by people who are directly affected by consumption of fast food. Other than dieting and exercise, policymaking and encouraging fast food retailers to change dietary composition of the menus can also help in fighting the costly implication of fast foods.
In conclusion, this discussion affirms the daunting task of addressing obesity cases that result from consumption of fast foods. A number of researches support the notion that fast foods are the main cause of rising cases of obesity in the society. Obesity on the other hand is a predisposing factor to other opportunistic diseases like some form of cancer, some form of stroke, heart related diseases, and cardiac arrests. As much as this statement is true, approach taken to address this issue, matters. By addressing the cause of obesity will solve many lifestyle diseases and reduce financing of health problems by significant proportions. In addition, the workforce will be more productive. The threat of fast food consumption is leading to investment in wellness and exercising programs because of increased demands. The poor on the other hand have inadequate resources and this explains why new trends in obesity show that the rate is on the rise for lower class citizens.
Fast foods aid in the fight of malnutrition and other advantages highlighted in the discussion above. However, the negative consequences supersede the positive impacts of fast foods in the society. In addition, there is the psychological aspect of how people perceive fats foods. It is critical to factor in the dynamism of people’s opinions in order to lay a platform for reassessing the real situation and come up with comprehensive measures for policy creation. It would therefore be a responsibility of all stakeholders to suggest ways of dealing with fast foods and its repercussions on increasing cases of obesity. However, the government remains with the ultimate power to decide which course to take in curbing the effects of fast foods on health of the populace. The population also needs to change their perceptions and address the fast food menace.
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